Change of the Guard: The 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4
The 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn Crew Cab 4X4.
There's a saying (no idea who said it first) that it's not hype if you can back it up.

All that hype you've been hearing about the 2019 Ram 1500?  It's not hype.

Ram (formerly Dodge Truck) has been playing the long game.  They revolutionized pickup truck styling 25 years ago.  That massive, macho thing that pickup trucks have now elevated to an art form?  Ram (then Dodge) did it first.   And now that some trucks have taken it to an illogical extreme, Ram has found a way to do massive, imposing...and elegant.  The front of the 2019 Ram 1500 is just plain gorgeous.


Hitting The Target---Again: The 2019 Subaru Forester Touring

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Subaru Forester Touring
The 2019 Subaru Forester Touring.
I had to go through the TireKicker archives to be sure (after 10-plus years, that's more of a job than you might imagine)---but the last time we were in a Subaru Forester was the last time there was an all-new one---five years ago.

In that review of the 2014 Subaru Forester, we said that the marvel was that Subaru made major improvements to a vehicle that, if you'd asked us, we'd say "just don't screw it up".  But they went beyond---improved things we didn't realize could be better.

And they've done it again.


Sweetening The Deal: The 2019 Acura MDX AWD A-SPEC

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Acura MDX AWD A-SPEC
The 2019 Acura MDX AWD A-SPEC.
The overall goodness of the Acura MDX gets a significant sweetening for 2019.  When we wrote about the refreshed 2017 model in late '16, we pointed out the need for a new interior.  Acura has delivered that plus a first-for-the-MDX A-SPEC model.


Making A Difference: American Trucks' Positive Payload 2019 Winter Winners

One of our happiest and proudest associations here at TireKicker is with the fine folks at American MuscleExtreme Terrain and American Trucks.  They have been loyal advertisers since 2012. 

Right now, American Trucks is doing something worth writing about (buying ad space at TireKicker doesn't guarantee editorial coverage). 

It's called the Positive Payload Program.  If you volunteer for or work with a charity that uses Ford F-150sChevy SilveradosGMC Sierras or Dodge Rams in its service to the community, you can apply for a $2,000 donation to that charity.

The winter 2019 winners are: 

Habitat For Humanity Philadelphia, which has repaired 500 homes and built 215 since its launch in 2003---directly impacting the lives of more than 1,700 people.  Habitat's fleet of trucks is essential to get supplies and staff between worksites and warehouses.

Water Mission International, which since 2001 has used innovative technology and engineering expertise to provide access to safe water for more than 3.6 million people in 55 countries.  Trucks are used to deliver equipment and technology to communities in need.  Terrain is often rugged and only a truck can be used to navigate the many miles to individual communities.  Also, during a disaster relief effort, trucks are driven through remote and often flooded areas where people desperately need safe drinking water.

Full details and a link to apply are here.


Revising The Mission Statement: The 2019 Toyota Avalon Touring

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Toyota Avalon Touring
The 2019 Toyota Avalon Touring.
When the first Toyota Avalon arrived 24 years ago, it was summed up by a lot of observers as the Japanese having built a better Buick.  It was, after all, the closest thing Toyota had built to a luxobarge, the late 70s through early 90s Cressida, a stodgily-styled sedan that could be had, in some years, with a velour interior, but which also had the same engine as the sporty Supra under its hood.

You may have noticed that Toyota is working very hard to shake off its bland image of late.  And for 2019, the Avalon, a new fifth-generation model, has gotten essentially the same styling treatment the smaller Camry got last year.